sri lankan chickpea curry Recipe

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Chef Bala Thangarajah’s chickpea curry is so popular in the St. Joseph’s Health Centre cafeteria, people revolt if it’s not on the menu once a week. They used to complain that it was too hot. Now they complain if it’s not spicy enough.
Thangarajah uses Niru brand Curry Flavour, a powdered spice blend of cinnamon, cardamom, curry leaves and fennel. He also uses Niru’s roasted hot Jaffna curry powder, which is red and includes chili, coriander, fenugreek, pepper, cumin, turmeric and fennel. I bought both at Sri Lankan supermarket New Spiceland (5790 Sheppard Ave. E., 6065 Steeles Ave. E.,

Servings: 4


Cost per serving $0.20 view details
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, minced (preferably in food processor)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fennel seeds
  • 5 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) each: minced garlic, minced ginger
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) canned plum or diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped cilantro stems
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) roasted hot Jaffna curry powder or pure Indian chili powder
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) yellow curry powder
  • 19-oz (540-mL) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup (125 to 250 mL) canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Sri Lankan “curry flavour” mixture or garam masala
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) cilantro leaves
  • Naan bread or basmati rice for serving (optional)


  1. In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, fennel and curry leaves. Cook, stirring often, 7 minutes until browned. Add garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cilantro stems.
  2. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer 10 minutes. Add Jaffna curry powder or Indian chili powder and yellow curry powder. Simmer 5 minutes.
  3. In food processor, or using immersion blender, purée. Add chickpeas and 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut milk. Raise heat to medium; warm through. If desired, add remaining 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut milk to thin to desired consistency. Stir in Sri Lankan curry flavour or garam masala. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
  4. If desired, serve with naan or basmati rice.
  5. Makes 4 servings (about 4 cups/1L).
  6. Star-tested by Jennifer Bain
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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 163g
Recipe makes 4 servings
Calories 178  
Calories from Fat 46 26%
Total Fat 5.17g 6%
Saturated Fat 1.08g 4%
Trans Fat 0.09g  
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 57mg 2%
Potassium 210mg 6%
Total Carbs 33.1g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2.6g 9%
Sugars 24.03g 16%
Protein 2.12g 3%


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